Jonathan Shimizu: Week 1 Recap
This past week has been an absolute blast! I’ve gotten to know and have started to bond with the other interns over the past few days. I’ve also started to develop my research project with my partner Michael and have nearly finalized it. We are going to be looking at how soil characteristics and tree physiology impact disease severity in butternut trees. I’m excited to investigate if there are any cellular differences between disease resistant butternut trees and butternut trees already infected with the fungal disease called butternut canker. Our mentors, Dr. Shaneka Lawson and Dr. Anna Conrad, have been working with us to ensure our research is feasible and attainable within the short eight weeks we have.
This week we learned about Martell Forest and the Purdue Wildlife Area. The property manager gave us a tour of the forest, both on and off the trail, and guided us through the different plots and ongoing research projects within Martell. Taking “shortcuts” and trailblazing through the forest was certainly the highlight of the day. Back at the Wright Center, we were given crash courses on field safety, time management, pesticide safety, lab safety, and CPR by various guest speakers and professors. Although the topics were important and interesting, I definitely could have benefited from some more caffeine.
The trip to the Dunes Learning Center was absolutely the highlight of the first week. We took tours of a garden being worked on by Eagle Scouts and an abandoned learning center. We later went on a short hike in the Indiana Dunes National Park where we learned about conducting tours and educating others in effective and long-lasting ways. I got to run up and sprint down a dune, finally see a Jack pine, and take a quick dip in the cold waters of Lake Michigan. I celebrated the day by downing a triple scoop of ice cream in a waffle cone before hopping back into the van and shuffling through the playlist at max volume. I can’t wait to see what the next week offers when we work with high schoolers and begin collecting data for our research project!